tv [untitled] May 1, 2013 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT
around the city. you can always point to problems that exist in terms of maintenance. ~ result but what i see in the world around me, district 11 [inaudible]. the crocker amazon park which is right close to my house was never up kept the way it is now. never. there were always overgrown weeds all around, outside of the park, moscow and geneva, well maintained and visibly pleasing all the time. so, i know that's a lot of work that the laborers do to make happen, and the gardeners do to make happen and i just want to say that it's really appreciated by what's happening. i do know laborers do have concerns about how this program is functioning, how it works, and it is important to hear from them. [inaudible]. perhaps we can make improvements on, we can consider those moving forward based [inaudible]. from the laborers.
and i have two names to call up first. vince courtney. [inaudible]. before we go on to our public comment. >> hello, and thank you to the department and ms. callahan for the presentation today. i'm sure we'll have a good discussion today about the apprenticeship program, which i know we all strongly support and [inaudible]. i also think it's important to sometimes step back and just look at where the rec and park department is. and i am very, very positive about the direction of this department. we had a budget hearing on the department's upcoming budget proposal. i think its was last week or the week before. and we were reminded of what we
[inaudible]. in term of the budget of the department, in terms of [inaudible]. general fund support for rec and park, reduction in number of gardeners, totally inadequate park control staffing. you know, in a lot of cities in this country [inaudible]. to a parks department, you would start seeing probably park closures, dramatic reduction [inaudible] of the parks. and i think because of the very strong leadership in the department under phil ginsberg and very strong collaboration between [inaudible] 261 and the amazing employees of rec and park [inaudible]. groups who volunteer and work
with our park employees to improve their neighborhood parks. and, of course, the voters who continually and overwhelmingly support investment in our parks [inaudible]. park system has [inaudible]. play grounds and replace broken irrigation system [inaudible]. levels of community engagement and parks that are really -- have struggled and are moving forward. and we continue to have recreational offerings and other programs that very well could have been cut. [inaudible]. and i really want to give a lot of credit to the management of the department, to the women [inaudible]. and to our city for making sure the department moves forward. so, yes, let's all continue to strongly support [inaudible].
[inaudible]. my vantage point in the reading through back and forth [inaudible] department that it seems that the department staff and mr. ginsberg have been trying to work cooperatively to try to find ways to support 261's effort while abiding by our hr rules as well. and i'm hoping that we move forward without the level of antagonism that i sensed in reading through a lot of the [inaudible]. don't quite understand in some ways the lack of trust that's come up over the past few months and i want to understand that more. but from the presentation that we've received, it seems that we're supporting a strong
apprenticeship program and that the staff have really give us a good understanding moveing forward by supporting it. that is my perspective, not only hearing from richmond district residents, but that support the department and the apprenticeship program ~ and also from former gardeners like jake sig and others as well. i'm trying to understand the antagonism that's here because i want to see [inaudible]. >> thank you. let's go on to public comment. vince courtney followed by [speaker not understood]. so, i want to thank supervisor farrell for chairing this, supervisors wiener and mar for your thoughtful comments. and especially supervisor avalos for giving us an opportunity to have a public conversation. there is a lot of information that needs to be covered. we don't have graphics and we're not going to take an hour
doing that. all we can do is ask you to have faith that we're here for a reason. and despite the fact that we've, you know, there are appearances, it appears that everything is being supported. i can get into some specifics pretty quickly, but i do want to give you some background because we did take the time [inaudible]. 2004 we had a dire situation [inaudible].
[inaudible]. fast forward to rec and park, we took that same document. we redrafted it and we began to engage horticultural apprenticeship program. it took about two years to get all the parties around the city -- should i stop? >> no, please continue. okay. it took about [inaudible]. on public comment or if we were going to kind of give you -- whatever you guys want [inaudible]. and i do want to say i agree with some of the comments. i think, i think that the general manager deserves an awful lot of credit and i do have to confess that i recognize that our issues, the laborers issues are a small piece of the pie. we're talking about maintenance [inaudible]. and about fieldwork and that's not an absolute priority for management. so, i will concede that point. >> [speaker not understood]
more of your concerns. please continue with more of your concerns. thank you. when we initiated this program, we do so on ~ only with the permission of our [speaker not understood]. [speaker not understood]. so, we work as a state certified board to administer this program. a couple of issues that came up today [inaudible]. the district captain program. the district captain program was specifically put forward to address concerns that our rank and file had with a level of professionalism and expertise that had gradually gone down. and had been allowed to go down through the hiring practices that management had been administering. so, we've been making every effort possible to raise the standard, raise the professional standard [inaudible]. professional occupation.
for a long, long time now and many will agree, the hiring has been so lax [inaudible] your constituents that lack the skill, knowledge and expertise, and ethics, frankly, to serve em them the way we believe they're entitled to be served [inaudible]. and we negotiated this district captain ~ position for accountability sake. that died for two years. only after [inaudible]. where 25 or so district captains appointed to the current positions like last week. so, as much as, you know, we can talk about the powerpoint presentations and everything else. the facts are the facts [inaudible]. [inaudible]. before and after photos get real results that result in a camaraderie among the workers that are from our communities [inaudible].
and then go around that commitment and engage all these other progms which is what's been happening. there's no reason to hire at the journey level rate as an entry level spot when you have an already previously committed to apprenticeship [inaudible]. so, our concern was that the department insisted on hiring 34 17s instead of hiring 34 10s. and that's where our union put its money where its mouth is. we gave the wages. the apprentices make 55% of the journey [inaudible] these workers [speaker not understood] to make a commitment to the citizens we serve and to city college to get the education that's necessary to perform these functions in the park, which we don't get from the people we hire off the streets. and, so, the fact of the matter
is when you tack about all these public service trainees, there's no training. there's no pathway. you bring these people in, you don't know where they are. you don't know who is supervising them. you don't know what work they're [inaudible]. it's disrespectful to these young men and women who they want to have an opportunity and career in rec and park. we don't have a mechanism, it's not connected, supervisors. it needs to be connected by management so you know what a trainee is, is that a pre-apprentice? is there a training component? who evaluates those people? how do they get accepted into the apprenticeship program? which members of your district get into those apprenticeship programs? because they're highly coveted positions. so, all we ever tried to do was raise the barbie administering this program and we got upset when we saw that it was being pushed off to the side. when we saw that our proposals were dying, just dying. and it wasn't happening. we couldn't get [inaudible]. equipment from these public
service trainees for our state certified apprentices, like trucks and stuff. then it started to feel like it was personal. that's why we came to you [inaudible] to assist us at connecting the dots, making sure that these journey level positions that are highly coveted, there's competition for them. because i believe, and we all believe, that there's a great deal of value in the neighborhoods for a strong, committed, capable knowledgeable maintenance worker. whether they be a gardner or laborer. that's what our unions are about, making sure these people are doing good, hard work from the city and the citizens we serve. that's all i have today. (applause) >> thank you. let's open this up for further [inaudible]. i have a few cards. nancy wilson. michelle meyers.
john rizzo. jim [speaker not understood]. [speaker not understood] and lois miles. if you heard your name, please come forward. this one? okay. it. good afternoon, i'm nancy wilson. i'm here to support the apprentice program. i was at the rec and park commission when this was approved and i was extremely impressed with the way it was proposed. it was clear the apprentices would be comprehensively trained. they would provide a supply of qualified men and women to the permanent workforce. and they would also provide extra help in the parks while also saving the city money as they were in that [inaudible].
with their, quote, glitches or something like that in the system. it really is disheartening to feel that there's good pr and people are hopeful, but not when there are games that are being played or anything that's less than completely straightforward in getting these people hired as city employees. so, i want to encourage you to be extremely careful that this is not just, you know, oh, everything's fine and dandy with the powerpoint. let's make sure that hr is going to do its part in getting these people into the workforce. and also i'd like to just make a comment that if you think about it, if we had a gardner out at the beach chalet soccer fields, we wouldn't be hearing the need for [speaker not understood] in golden gate park. that definitely offends me. last, i'd like to admonish sarah quoted in the examiner, she's the public relations director for the department, for her unprofessional comment
about the accusations being, "just locker room chatter." [inaudible]. insulting and it's not acceptable from a city employee paid to represent the department. much less the public relations director. i support your help in keeping this program on track exactly as it should be. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please. and if you heard your name called, if you can line up over by those pillars over there, it would be great. john rizzo speaking on behalf of the sierra club and the sierra club is supporting local 261 laborers in this item. the sierra club feels strongly that we need the best maintained parks that we possibly can have. i don't think we completely agree that everything is the best, but we think our -- the laborers are high-quality
professionals and know what they're doing. and we'd hate to see that slip in any way by getting less qualified people who aren't trained. as well, the city college program is an excellent program and it's -- produces a great outcome. so, whatever help you can do, we'd appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you. i'm going to call a identify more cards. if you hear your name called, please line up [inaudible]. waynn hiroshima, [speaker not understood], [speaker not understood] feinstein. joan valentini. eric brooks. good afternoon, i'm jennifer [speaker not understood], i'm with the trust for public lands. i direct our parks bay area program. i want to thank you for the opportunity to comment. i just wanted to speak a little bit more broadly along the lines of supervisor wiener's comments about partnerships in general. the trust republic land is a
national nonprofit organization and we've been headquartered here for 40 years and have worked with the city of city of 40 years to acquire planned for new parks and to raise funding for new parks and help design and develop new parks so parks are a part of what makes this city livable. [speaker not understood] opened the presentation with park score and san francisco has an excellent city park system and our organization rated it number one across the country with some standard metrics. under phil's leadership, san francisco really recognizes the quality and funding that are critical to maintaining an excellent park system. and has been really successful, i think, in striving to create and leverage resources to maintain that status. even when the department is pretty under staffed and underfunded. anyway, the challenges rec and park faces are similar to what is going on around the country. the park departments need to be
creative to find sources of revenue from partners, citizens, nonprofits, to really provide the best possible park system. under phil's leadership, the trust for public land has been especially productive with the city leveraging $4 million of private funds into $16.5 million that ends up benefiting city parks in the tenderloin, western addition, excelsior neighborhoods. he's also developed a partnership process that really clearly identifies where the responsibilities between nonprofits and the department so we can ensure the department, the great staff that is within the city, has meaningful roles of engagement all the way through the process. so, just want to thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to this partnership that lends the best [inaudible]. city departments. >> thank you. thank you very much. next speaker, please.
good afternoon, supervisors. my name is waynn hiroshimi, i'm actually a native san franciscan. i want to share the rec and park has done such a phenomenal job with the parks. it was my backyard. it's my children's, it's my grandchildren's backyard. [inaudible]. when i retired i said i was going to give back to the community. for the last four years [inaudible]. i've had the opportunity to work side by side with the apprenticeship group which is really [inaudible]. and their excitement and how enthusiastic they are about doing this kind of work. not only that, but what i appreciate about them is they have come into areas in the park where i don't think they would normally be or would not be addressed by one of the gardeners that we have. [inaudible]. resolving the situations that
may come up. thank you. [inaudible], and i'm involved [inaudible]. most recently i've been working on the lawn bowling greens [inaudible]. to say the least. and for a number of years we were making very little progress at a very [inaudible]. say that rec and park has helped us a lot in making improvements, but [inaudible]. a the benefit is the apprenticeship program. when they come in in force, they have an impact and they inspire the community because when they're there, when you walk away after they've been there, there's a change. [inaudible]. to make a difference instead of just little [inaudible].
you can to keep that program in place, i think it's [inaudible], it's participants. i think it promotes pride in its participants. and i think it gives them standard performance that are really critical. i don't see that in all the people that are working in the parks and these guys can raise the standard. so, i encourage you to do anything you can to maintain it, support it. i encourage phil to do the same because i think they're doing a great job in the rpd. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. hi, my name is joan valentini, i'm a native san franciscan and i live and work in san francisco as a city gardner. the mind of the professional setting of the gardner classification 34 17 began several years ago. [inaudible]. oversimplification of the 17 34 test, the reduction of minimum qualificationses and the refusal to verify applicant's experience and the use of departmental in-house testing [inaudible].
city gardeners upon seeing the [inaudible] new hires went to [inaudible] case. [inaudible] the state certified gardeners apprenticeship prram. and [inaudible]. and because of their unwillingness to validate an applicant's experience, unqualified candidates continue to be hired before apprentices. and even though with a restricted budget, parks and rec have added more administrators while leaving large [speaker not understood] abandoned [inaudible]. at the proper landscape maintenance. we need to hire a skilled workforce for our city parks now. and these candidates should come from the gardner apprenticeship program. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please. supervisors, i'm arthur feinstein. i'm chair of the bay chapter of the sierra club. well, as you know, we've bev
only seen eye to eye with rec and park. [speaker not understood]. and if we only listen to the powerpoint that was presented to us, it's a bowled over, what an incredible organization it is. and yet we know from our interactions with pd that there are problems there. we have [speaker not understood] park closed for [inaudible] can make money off it. there's ongoing privatization in various parks of this city park system. in order to fund the gap that you guys [inaudible] through rec and park. there's no question there is a money problem. privatizing our precious park space. and the park space we do have [inaudible] and that brings us to the gardeners. and while the powerpoint made it seem like there was no
problem at all, you're hearing now what the problems actually are. it would have been nice if rpd had actually come in and said, here's the problems, this is the problem we're having with the union and we're going to work with them. we didn't hear that. we didn't hear any offer to work with the union that i heard. just that they had a great program. well, [inaudible]. i hope you act as the intermediaries to get [inaudible]. solutions, it's hard to believe there is not a problem if these folks say [speaker not understood] people and trying to get them placed. there is a problem. let's see if we can fix it. thanks very much. >> thank you. next speaker, please. good afternoon, supervisors. eric burks, representing san francisco green party and the local grassroots organization our city. as i often do, i'd like to take this up to the 30,000 foot level and look down on it from the big picture. by the way, we are in strong
support of what the laborers are asking for [inaudible] program. in times of economic crisis, and we had many of them since 1980, we see corporations and other [speaker not understood] try to use that economic crisis to do what's [speaker not understood] describes as [inaudible]. you take advantage of the fact that there is an environmental crisis [inaudible]. instead of doing what fdr did and doing a lot more offending of programs. instead, corporations and other [speaker not understood] put pressure for us to cut things. when the federal government cuts a lot, and then that cuts the state and then the state cuts us. and then what that does is it leverages its strong arms, you folks on the board of supervisors and it strong arms the [inaudible].
to start trying to [inaudible]. defend the parks instead of defending it with government money like it should be and privatizing the parks. it puts pressure, the i way to do this is put pressure against union labor and drive unions out of the labor force more and more. and, so, [inaudible] privatization and outsourcing of labor [inaudible]. the single employee in the government and local government would be a union employee [inaudible] capitalism pressure and head back [inaudible] so what eventually every rec and park employee with a union [inaudible]. so, please send it back in the right direction. thanks. >> thank you. next speaker, please. before the next speaker speaks,ly call out more cards.
vanessa banks. jackie flynn. william morgan. leo pitcher. joshua arce. hi, ed collins schmidt, executive director of [speaker not understood], father of three. [inaudible]. the powerpoint and all the positive [inaudible]. with phil ginsberg and his staff. [inaudible]. collaborating partner, working in [speaker not understood] airs az of the city. i can say nothing but positive things about the progress [inaudible] and his staff at all levels, from 30,000 feet to looking, you know, looking through the bushes and the grass, it's a solid operation. all of the staff should be
congratulated. we are proud partners of rec and park and know that there are issues obviously, but we have the greatest faith in the integrity and the good will and the vision of phil and the department and the staff at all levels. so, [inaudible]. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. good afternoon. thank you, supervisors. my nameis vanessa banks [speaker not understood] ~. speaking only as a representative, as a city official, i have been working for park and rec for two years now. ~ [inaudible] but i also speak for community as well in the apprenticeship program. it has been really helpful for a lot of people, but i have known to be inside of the program and i believe that cutting the program would really be hurtful to our youth today because of what the green [inaudible].
that is coming to us will hurt the youth because the summer programs are also working inside the gardens and the youth. if you have a 17-year-old that's, you know, really her first time or his first time working inside of a garden and they want to go into the apprenticeship program within the next year to gain the experience to help the leaders in the city to help take care of our parks. because as you know, with a principle disships, with appreciation it can be sustainable. please look out for us. we need you all. thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. my name is jackie flynn. i'm the executive director of the [speaker not understood]. from what i heard today there is no doubt rec and park has amazing facilities. they have prided se